When Barack Obama offered an apology to Hamid Karzai over the Koran-burning incident, I supported it as a cost-free attempt to cool things down, in an environment where we clearly need to remain a while to meet our objectives. It obviously didn’t work, as two US Army officers got fragged by an Afghan soldier three days later, and a NATO base got attacked by a suicide bomber four days later. Two more American soldiers were shot today by an Afghan soldier, in fact. Riots and violence have continued unabated and the Taliban are using the incident as a recruiting tool. Still, an apology was worth a try, even if it failed to prevent violence and reprisals.
Of course, it helps to recognize that the apology didn’t work. Yesterday, Obama claimed that it had “calmed things down“:
President Obama said his formal apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the burning of Korans by U.S. troops last week has “calmed things down” after the incident sparked an outbreak of violence across the country.
By what measure? I agree with his rationale in offering it — “what is going to best protect our folks and make sure that they can accomplish their mission” — but his February 23rd apology didn’t calm anything down, which is obvious from the continuing eruptions of violence.
Sounds like we need a visit from our friend Chip Diller to explain this one:
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
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